HOWELL – A Howell Township woman has been charged in connection to a three-car crash that resulted in the death of a young child, officials said.
Samantha E. Bonora, 31, was charged with one count of first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter and two counts of second-degree Aggravated Assault. Bonora was also charged with Driving Under the Influence, as well as multiple motor vehicle summonses.
Around 4:45 p.m. January 13, officers responded to Route 34 just north near the Colts Neck border. At the scene, there were three cars involved: a 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck; a 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by a woman who had three passengers, including two children, and a 2021 Ford Bronco.
According to police, Bonora was driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck southbound on Highway 34 in Howell when she travelled into the northbound lane into oncoming traffic. As a result, she collided head-on with an oncoming Jeep Grand Cherokee. The collision caused Bonora’s truck to ultimately come to a stop in the northbound lane, where it was then rear-ended by a Ford Bronco.
Bonora as well as the female passenger of the Jeep and the female driver of the Ford Bronco sustained minor injuries.
The driver of the Jeep Cherokee sustained a serious injury and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. One of the two child passengers in the Cherokee, a 3-year-old girl, was pronounced deceased at the scene, while the other, a 2-year-old boy, sustained minor injuries and was hospitalized for observation, officials said.
Authorities later determined that Bonora was driving under the influence of multiple narcotic substances at the time of the collision.
Bonora was arrested without incident and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institute (MCCI), where she is currently being held pending her first appearance at the Monmouth County Superior Court on February 7.
Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Agent Reginald Grant at 800-533-7443 or Howell Township Police Officer Daniel Scherbinski at 732-928-4575 ext. 2663.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.